Medina Spirit, the Kentucky Derby winner, crashed and died following an exercise at Santa Anita on Monday.
According to Craig Robertson, Baffert’s counsel, the 3-year-old colt had just completed five furlongs in his second training since finishing second in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar a month ago. In a statement, Baffert stated that the horse had a heart attack.
“This news has shattered my entire barn,” Baffert added. “Medina Spirit was a tremendous champion, a member of our family who was adored by many, and we are deeply saddened by his passing.” I will always treasure my proud and intimate recollections of Medina Spirit and his incredible spirit.”
According to a statement made by Santa Anita, the track’s veterinary experts collected blood, hair, and urine samples from Medina Spirit and forwarded them to the California Horse Racing Board. The racing board has ordered that the colt undergo a comprehensive necropsy in order to ascertain the exact cause of death.
Medina Spirit tested positive for betamethasone after the May 1 Derby, a legal medicine that is not permitted on race day. It was Baffert’s record sixth Derby victory. Following Medina Spirit’s failed test, Churchill Downs suspended Baffert and barred him from entering horses in the Kentucky Derby in 2022 and 2023. He was also barred from entering horses at the New York Racing Association’s Belmont, Saratoga, and Aqueduct courses.
Robertson issued a statement last Friday stating that tests performed by a New York lab “certainly proved” Medina Spirit tested positive for the steroid — not through an injection, but through an ointment used to treat a skin rash.
The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has been examining the case and has yet to convene a hearing that might result in Medina Spirit’s disqualification.
Medina Spirit couldn’t muster the late burst needed to threaten winner Knicks Go in the $6 million BC Classic.
“I’m quite proud of him. Last month, Baffert added, “He ran a tremendous race.” “He’s the best three-year-old in my opinion.” He displayed it today. That’s what racing is all about: proving yourself on the track. And tonight he proved that he’s the real deal.”
Baffert was permitted to enter horses in the season-ending world championships, but the event’s money-leading trainer was subject to certain limitations, including tighter out-of-competition testing of his horses and increased security at his barn. He consented to the extra scrutiny but had to pay for it out of his own pocket.
According to Equibase, Medina Spirit has five victories in ten career starts and earnings of $3,545,200. Amr Zedan, who runs Zedan Racing Stables, owned the colt.
“Our heartfelt condolences to Mr. Amr Zedan and the whole Zedan Racing Stables family,” Baffert said in a statement released Monday. “As we go through this terrible time, they are in our thoughts and prayers.”